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Sage Grouse Conservation Changes Praised, Provoke Alarm

USFWS
USFWS

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s administration has opened the door to industry-friendly changes to a sweeping plan imposed by his predecessor to protect a ground-dwelling bird across vast areas of the West.

Wildlife advocates warn that the proposed changes would undercut a hard-won struggle to protect the greater sage grouse.

Representatives of the ranching and energy industries cheered the policy shift as needed to give states flexibility.

A document outlining the recommended changes was released Monday.

It backed away from requirements to keep rangeland grasses and shrubs at a prescribed minimum height, which ranchers had complained was arbitrary.

The ground-dwelling sage grouse has lengthy, pointed tail feathers and is known for the male’s elaborate courtship display in which air sacs in the neck are inflated to make a popping sound.

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